Part 12: The Sindar Mystery
One of the things that sucks about the forced party section is that it arbitrarily adds difficulty depending on who you're stuck with. I imagine the worst party for this section would be Gengen, Mukumuku, and Millie. You'd basically have to grind Millie to get her another Rune so she could be any useful.
: We're friends of Viktor, the mercenary leader. We told him we'd meet up with him here. Let us in.
Sorry, but no one comes in without an entry permit. We have to watch out for Highland spies!!!
: Hey, are you calling us spies?
no. no let's really not.
stop. Stop trying, Nanami.
Don't be ridiculous. Now buzz off, little pug-nose.
I called you pug nose, shrimp! Now buzz off!!
Shut up, you frog-faced whiny little tomboy!!
This is why we don't let Nanami do things. I just don't like characters like her in jRPGs incredibly overbearing, emotional as all get out, and often completely nonsensical. Instead of taking shit in stride, she runs her mouth at every opportunity which, I suppose, fits in with the fact that she is a kid but it doesn't make me like her any more even if it makes 'sense' that she's incredibly immature.
Back to what I was saying about difficulty: Muse is the only place available to us now that has an armor shop. If you happen to get stuck with characters like, say, Millie or Gengen here, who you probably don't use and thus never bothered to give them any better armor back in Muse when you had the time to do so, you're stuck with glass cannon characters. It doesn't help that the dungeon ahead is a considerable step up.
Suikoden 2 Tunes Amid the Silence ~ White Deer Inn
The only place left to go is the nearby White Deer Inn, between Muse and Toto.
Well, at least it's a nice inn.
: You picked a strange place to open an inn, didn't you?
: Well, ummm... maybe. But you'd be surprised how many people come to stay here. Well, shall I show you to your room?
We didn't even ask for a room.
: It was just like I thought. I knew there was something funny about those ruins.
: I... uhh... umm...
: What? You should be happier. We can finally say goodbye to this failure of an inn!!
: Alex... please don't do anything dangerous. The treasure is probably a rumor. Please... I don't want you to...
Alex walks out, even though he just totally passed by some people who could help.
We... have? Where did we camp?
Nanami creepily wakes Azure up, then shoves him out of bed. What an asshole.
No, seriously, what an asshole.
Pilika then climbs into bed with Jowy. Okay, creepiness overload.
: Oooh... huh... is it morning??
No wonder your inn is a failure. You charged us absolutely nothing.
I guess I was wrong. You're not entirely boned armor-wise. There's an item peddler in the Inn who sells some strong accessories. His Rare Finds includes a Sacrificial Jizo and a Belt of Strength, the latter being very useful right now but is expensive.
There's also... wow how did I not know this before... a runemaster in the Inn as well. Let's put this Double-Beat Rune on Nanami.
She sells two new attack runes. The first, Pixie, turns a normally S-range staff user into a physical attacker by allowing them to attack an enemy at long-range. However, this Rune is an absolute joke. Its damage formula is 20% of that character's Magic stat. Considering the highest you'll ever see that stat go is maybe 150 to 170, you're looking at absolutely pitiful damage; that same character could probably deal more damage just regularly attacking. This Rune is made somewhat more useful in V.
The Kite Rune is a bit more useful: For any shuriken or dart user, it allows them to attack all enemies for 50% of their physical damage. This Rune is curiously absent from IV.
As soon as we leave the Inn, Alex comes barging in saying he couldn't find any help from people in Muse.
: Alex... we don't need treasure, right?
: What are you saying, Hilda? This time I've really found the treasure. I want to give you a good life... not in the backwoods like this. We could open an inn in Muse.
Nanami asks him if he has an entry permit.
Yeah, this whole bit of sidetracking is just so we can get the plot item to actually make the plot move again. Bleh.
We have nothing else to do.
Thankfully, Pilika is left behind to play with their kid, Pete, who's off in a room to the right by himself pacing around.
: Is this inscription in Sindarin?
: Yep. These ruins were left by the lost race of the Sindar.
So here we are, a filler dungeon. Pretty much everything related to the Sindar is filler. Some characters are obsessed with the Sindar, I'm personally not. The series goes out of its way to heap piles and piles of mystery on this lost race, but because we're never going to get a proper Suikoden again, it just ends up being a wasted opportunity. Much like the series as a whole, I suppose.
Anyway, the Sindar Ruins is a pretty tough dungeon. Enemies frequently attack whole rows or your whole party, and you can sometimes be left with a shit party to use for it anyway.
Stat items have been retranslated into Stone of ____ and a common way to screw over the difficulty in the series is to use save tricks to get infinite amounts of these items.
Yep... Nightmares are back, and way WAY sooner than they should be. Though, of course, they're toned down considerably from their Soniere Prison incarnations.
They now have wind magic, and in this case they cast Wind of Sleep. Which totally knocked out three party members.
Their fire spell now hits EVERYONE.
That's Great Blessing, and the Bright Shield Rune has the innate ability of being able to go first in every round thanks to the fact that it is primarily a healing Rune. The same holds true for the Water/Flowing Runes.
However, if an enemy is fast enough they will be able to hit you before that Runes goes off.
Creepers are also back from the same region. They're still just as annoying.
I am glad I put the Double Beat Rune on Nanami.
Oh man, this puzzle is difficult.
Round plate go in round hole
These guys are probably the most annoying enemy in the dungeon, just because they can do high damage and hit the whole front row easily.
As well as the back row.
That's not ominous.
The puzzles in this dungeon are: Find plate, fit into corresponding hole.
To the west of the Triangle Plate is this Rune, which is a bit of a useless Rune. It's a weaker form of Zamza's Fire Dragon Rune, dealing 150% damage instead of 200% damage. Again, you'll want to pair this with a Fire Sealing Rune. However, this Rune is a weapon rune, meaning that it adds damage on top of your normal attack -- instead of selecting it like a Command rune, you'll be doing 150% damage AND being hit by the resultant Fire damage with every attack.
Placing the Triangle Plate makes the water disappear, so we can climb into the riverbed.
These guys aren't particularly tough, but they do drop the Fire Lizard Rune from time to time.
They do have quite a lot of HP though. They'll either zoom into you, or deal more damage by breathing fire on you.
There's also floating moons here for some reason. They occasionally drop Titan and Unicorn Runes. With two strong Unites we can destroy them.
We can find a Magic Drain Rune here. The Magic Drain Rune restores a charge of your level 1 magic with a 20% success rate at the cost of lowering your accuracy by 15%. To its right is the second Old Book.
On occasion, the Family Attack Unite will end up with this. Nanami will, instead, be Azure's cheerleader then proceed to have tea and eat during combat. You'd think this would piss me off considering I hate Nanami, but the animation that plays (that is incredibly hard to capture in screenshots) is that towards the end of the Unite every time it flashes between each weapon strike, Nanami's mouth is moving as if she's chewing in between each frame of animation. I find it incredibly hilarious. Instead of dealing 2x damage with both of them, the Family Attack ends up dealing Azure's normal damage and heals Nanami a little bit. It doesn't happen that often, but it does happen.
Nanami no one was talking to you
: Yeah, I guess there aren't many things that are 'most dear' to me...
I need dollas, dollas, dollas is what I need
the door opens, despite Alex insisting that it MUST be treasure
Surprise! Filler boss!
Meet Double Head. He's actually not as tough as the dungeon he's housed in.
This is Piercing One, Jowy's third level Black Sword spell. Unlike the first game, you don't have to rest up to gain any magic charges you've earned. As you level, if your character happens to obtain more magic spells, you'll automatically be able to use them as soon as you acquire them. It's not advisable to use the Bright Shield Rune here because Double Head is resistant to it. I was going to capture what Shining Light and Twinkling Blade looked like but my emulator started to go crazy over it so I'll attempt to capture it later.
One of his attacks consists of headbutting the entire party for minimal damage.
His other attack is to hit the whole party for magic damage using a Rune on one of his heads. It's again, not very threatening.
This is Flash Judgment, Jowy's first spell. It's pretty useful here.
He drops the always-useful Spark Rune.
What have we learned today, kids?
'Treasure' can be defined many ways. Also, filler dungeons suck.